06—The Submission by Amy Waldman

Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011

A few years after 9/11 the governor of New York establishes a committee to select a design for a monument to the destruction of the towers. The committee is to choose a design from all the submissions without knowing anything about the artists who created them. The design the committee chooses  is of a garden and the designer is an American Born Muslim, Mohammed Kahn.

The furor that ensues when the choice is made public is not about the design, but rather about the artist and what his intentions are.

The story revolves around the struggles of three families who lost husbands, children, and a brother in the attack (Claire, a well-to-do mother of two whose husband died in the attack; Asthma, an illegal immigrant from Bangladesh, whose husband was a janitor in the twin towers; and Sean, the neer-do-well son of a middle class family whose brother died in the attack) and the architect who designed the memorial.

This is a story that examines prejudice and the psyche of the American people.

© Surveyor of the Passing Scene